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How do I activate a credit card?

You must activate any new credit card before you can make any purchases.
Find out how to do so as well as how to activate a new credit card in a mobile wallet.
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When you apply for a new credit account, your issuer will send your physical credit card by mail. This will usually take between seven to 10 days by standard mail. Some issuers may offer expedited shipping or virtual credit cards that you can use immediately.

Once you receive a new credit card or a replacement for a lost or stolen card, you will need to activate it. This process is usually quick and straightforward. Instructions on the activation process should be available on a sticker on the front of the credit card, or in a letter sent along with it. Visit your issuer’s website if you are unsure about what to do.

Most credit card issuers let you activate your card by calling a number, using the appropriate banking mobile app, or logging into the issuer’s online banking system. Once you activate the credit card, you can start using it straight away.

What do I need to know to activate my card?

If you are activating a credit card over the phone or online, you may need to have certain information to complete the process. You’ll need to provide the card details, including the credit card number and security code (CVV), which will be on the front or back of the card. The issuer may also require some personal details, like your full name, Social Security Number, and zip code. Be sure you are talking to a trusted source when giving out any personally identifiable information over the phone.

For contactless credit cards, you will need to activate the card as usual and make a payment by chip and PIN. The contactless feature will then be available to use. You may sometimes be prompted to enter your PIN for transactions as a security measure.

How do I activate a new credit card in a mobile wallet?

Mobile wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay let you make credit card payments with your mobile device. It’s simple to set up new credit cards in your mobile wallet. Usually, you’ll need to launch the Wallet app, scan your credit card using the mobile camera, and enter the card’s security details. Your issuer will then verify your details.

Replacements of lost or stolen credit cards may update in the app automatically. The replacement card may even appear in your mobile wallet before your physical card arrives in the post.

What should I do if my new credit card doesn’t arrive?

If your credit card hasn’t arrived within 21 days, contact your issuer to check it hasn’t been activated by someone else. Criminals can sometimes intercept mail to steal cards and commit credit card fraud.

It’s important to report lost or stolen cards as soon as possible so your issuer can cancel them, launch an investigation, and send you a new card. Alternative options of delivery may be available, such as picking up the card from your local branch. Under U.S. federal law, cardholders are only liable for up to $50 of fraudulent charges, and many issuers adopt zero-liability policies.

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